The Origin and Uses of Porcelain

Dentists use veneers to disguise imperfections on teeth, as a quick way to make bad teeth appear nicer. They use several types of materials to create the ultra-thin wafers that they glue on the outer surface of the teeth, but of these, the most they value are veneers made from porcelain—the same material you see on your blue-and-white vases and decorative sculpture.

But what, exactly, is porcelain? And how do modern techniques transform fine porcelain to veneers your Dubai dentist cement on your teeth?

Here’s how.


Porcelain was first developed in China nearly 2,000 years ago, during the Han Dynasty in China. During this time, glazed ceramics that became porcelain were perfected, although evidence of porcelain-like pottery existed as far back as more than a thousand years earlier. During the Tang Dynasty about 400 years later, porcelain was first traded to the Middle East via the Silk Road, where it was highly coveted among merchants and people of high station.

The same trade route also opened up European markets in the 17th century to porcelain, where local artisans learned to make their own porcelain wares. This gave rise to a proliferation of porcelain décor in this time and the coining of the word china, as a synonym of the word porcelain (and in reference to their place of origin).

In China, porcelain peaked during the Qing Dynasty in the sameporcelain period, building on such accomplishments in the material such as the porcelain brick pagoda at Nanjing from previous dynasties.

Modern Porcelain

Today, making a porcelain is four-step process. First, experts select the raw materials for porcelain. These include feldspar, flint, silica, and clay, which are more or less the same materials used to make glass. Of these, clay is the most important as they form the ‘body’ (or the substance) of the porcelain ware, but feldspar holds the ‘body’ together. When these materials are selected, they are crushed for a uniform size, after which they are cleaned, formed into the ware, and then ‘fired’ (heated) in a kiln.

Modern dentistry uses several types of porcelain, chief of which are feldspathic, Leucite, and lithium disilicate ceramics. Feldspathic is the most common and the oldest type. A feldspathic veneer, however, is labour-intensive, as it usually requires several layers, and each layer is then ‘fired’ separately, causing shrinkage as compared to a one-piece veneer fired at a kiln.

A Leucite material solved the feldspathic porcelain veneer by casting the veneer into a prepared mould, making it stronger and the manufacturing process shorter. However, it was thicker than a feldspathic veneer (which was 0.5mm thick in average).

A lithium disilicate, on the other hand, combines the thinness of feldspathic with a Leucite—they are stronger, which allows them to be pressed thinner (even to 0.3mm), and can be milled in a mould. While feldspathic is still accorded by dentists as the most beautiful, additions and revisions on a lithium disilicate veneer is easier as well, making it on a par with feldspathic veneers in terms of aesthetics.

Thanks to our Chinese friends almost a thousand years ago, now your dentist can use porcelain to give you the smile you want and you deserve. Visit for the type of veneer you require and talk to your dentist.